Friday, July 31, 2009

Ugly Duckling Story

Several weeks ago I responded to a Craigslist ad and bought two garbage bags of really cheap yarn. Cheap in more ways than one:: it was very inexpensive; and it truly belonged in the garbage bags! Really crappy stuff!

The gal who was selling it told me she had bought it to make hats for the homeless. It made me wonder how she could hate the homeless soooo much? Did she really believe that they should be grateful for hats made from such ugly, nasty yarn? I tried to get a good photo of the stuff - see the red yarn? Crocheting with it is like crocheting 1970's shag carpet that has been on the floor of a college rental and never cleaned! It squeaks when you work with it. All of the yarn is acrylic and it is in some of the most eye smarting colors!

But . . . I like a challange. Also, I am not quite ready to spend real money on real yarn yet. I still have some experimenting to do before crocheting a masterpiece. So, I challenged myself to make a pretty (or presentable) patio throw with the stuff. I put together the best combinations of colors I could with what was available and I started on a "join-as-you-go, Babette-style, Granny-Square Flower" throw. Say that three times fast.

Hm. This picture is blurry. Could it be that the colors were causing the camera trouble? Or was it me? Okay. Because I, basically, have a positive outlook on everything and I like lists, I decided to come up with a list of good things about this yarn and throw.
1. It was practically free;
2. If it had cost actual money, I wouldn't be willing to use the throw outside, on the patio, of an evening when it is chilly;
3. There is a certain satisfaction in making something functional and even, pretty, from something so ugly and crappy.
4. I just like to crochet!

Sunshine was bored and pulled together a blindingly outrageous outfit the other day. I had to document it for posterity! Yikes!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wedding Lace

I've shown a lot of pictures lately of the crochet I've been doing - bright, colorful cushion covers, arm warmers and afghans. But that isn't typically the type of crochet I do. My passion is for fussy lace.

My nephew announced his intention to get married before being shipped out to Iraq the end of this month. So, I quickly began working on some lace to edge a set of pillowcases. I just happen to think that laced-edged pillowcases are a perfect wedding gift.

Then, something happened to make the wedding gift late. It wasn't me! My nephew and his fiance began their grand tour through Montana, Wyoming and Idaho to introduce each other to their families. Said families would then follow them back to their base (Ft. Lewis in Washington), witness their nuptuals and send my nephew off to Iraq in style.

Imagine everyone's surprise, then, when at the first family-introducing-stop, we learn that nephew and fiance actually got married the end of May! Oops. I may be able to crochet pretty fast, but even I can't finish a project before it was begun! And that is why, even though the pillowcases go in the mail today(on schedule!). . .they're late.

This is the gate to a cemetary somewhere in South Central France. Looks kinda lacey.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This past weekend was a landscaping weekend. El Guapo finished the last of the hardscaping last weekend when he added one more retaining wall at the top of the yard near the shed. You can just see it in this photo.

I love all the changes we have made to our yard over the past 3 years. But, the time has come to add plants. Admittedly, we have several already, but not nearly enough!

The potted standard rose was the most recent addition - until this weekend, that is.

After a spendy trip to Fry's Road Nursery in Albany, 20 shiny new plants to tuck into special spots. Unfortunately, El Guapo and I have some differing ideas about gardening. He likes to think that when he sticks 5 plants in a row in the ground, 3 years later there should still be just those 5 plants still precisely lined up. I tend toward the opinion that you should stick plants in the ground in various places and see what happens. Thus the violets overrunning the front yard and the Forget-Me-Nots overrunning the side yard fill me with glee and El Guapo with horror.

This is a picture from Chanaz, France. A BeaUtiFul place and something I would love to emulate at our house!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Patchwork Cushion

Isn't it interesting how a project can be driven by materials on hand? I have been following Posie's blog was dying to try her technique for patchwork cushions. I crocheted one of the cushions for the adirondack chairs out back and decided that patchwork was what I wanted for the other one. In my mind, I pictured something very similar to Posy's. But when I went through my stash and scraps, this is what I came up with. Now, don't get me wrong - it turned out beautifully (Posie's technique makes for the slickest piecework ever). But . . . it isn't right for the look I am striving for out back. I guess there is nothing for it, but to try again!

Here is a view of Abbaye de Hautecombe on Lac du Bourget. It is a beautiful spot on a lovely lake.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

To France and Back Again

. . . And yes, every bit of it was this pretty. We took somewhere around 600 pictures in two weeks between the four of us. I will try to share some of the best photos with you over the next few weeks. We keep being asked what our favorite part was and I guess I have to say the Alps, just because they are so awesome. But, I do love history and so the Roman and Medieval Ruins were right at the top for me.

Ripple was terribly happy when we came home!
Next on the agenda - more crochet, some sewing . . . and I am determined to find that particular blue that is used on all the shutters, etc. in Provence and paint something out in the garden with it! Also, many of our photos were of gardens - stay tuned as we make transform our own humble back yard into a French Cottage Garden.